Potassium is an important mineral used to balance fluids in the body, help muscles contract, protect blood vessels, and maintain normal blood pressure. Lack of potassium in the body can cause hypertension (otherwise known as high blood pressure), fatigue, and irritability.
Individuals with high blood pressure or low potassium level, also known as hypokalemia, will need to eat more foods that contain high amount of potassium. Those who are taking diuretics also need to consume more potassium because diuretics and certain medicines may cause the body to lose potassium. However, individuals with kidney disease or high potassium level, more popularly known as hyperkalemia, may need to limit the intake of foods with high potassium content.
Bananas not only fill the tummy and boost energy and metabolism but it is also one of the fruits richest in potassium. A medium-sized banana contains 425 mg per serving. Other fruits that contain high amount of potassium include avocado, kiwi, peach, pear, cantaloupe, and mango. Dried fruits, such as dried apricots, dried prunes, unsweetened dried coconut, raisins, dried figs, and dates are also rich in potassium.
Beans like Adzuki, soy, lima, kidney, Great Northern, pinto, and other white beans are also rich in potassium. A half cup of white beans provide approximately 600 mg of potassium. Similarly, nuts including pistachio, chestnut, almond, cashew, squash seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and watermelon seeds, are also good sources of potassium.
Dark, leafy greens are also included in the list, such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale, and collards. Likewise, dried herbs, like parsley, chervil, coriander, basil, and dill should be added to every dish not only to enhance its flavor but also to increase the potassium level in the body.
Baked potatoes, baked squash and other foods, including dark chocolates, custard, milk, yogurt, and peanut butter are highly recommended for patients with hypokalemia or low potassium level.
Some fish have also been found to have high level of potassium, like pompano, anchovies, salmon, cod, rainbow trout, lingcod, yellow fin tuna, halibut, herring, and mackerel.
Studies revealed that increasing potassium intake in the body and controlling sodium and salt not only reduces the possibility of developing heart diseases but also reduces the risk of stroke by 21%.